It’s official. Confirming earlier reports that YouTube planning to launch more social networking features to its service in the community, has today announced the arrival of its own YouTube Community, which allows video creators to better engage viewers using text, GIFs, images and much more. The main goal with the new features with the launch of YouTube Community channel is to help keep creators from departing to rival platforms, competitors by offering more tools for connecting with their audience, beyond the videos themselves.
YouTube has been testing this new service over the past few months with a handful of creators in order to gain feedback. Now, with the group of early testers, it’s launching the service into public beta and will make it available to wider group of creators in the coming “months ahead”, it says.
The new Community feature will come in form of a tab to YouTube, where users can send messages to their audience without having to post a video. Some channels already have a “Community” tab. Access to this expanded feature addition is made available to those creators and their viewers by way of a new “Community” tab on their YouTube channels. Starting from here, creators can share things like text posts, images, animated pictures (GIF content) and others, which the audience can thumbs up and down, like videos as well as comment on.
Followers can even opt to receive notifications for these posts, or simply can view the updates in their subscription feed, alongside any new videos. Viewers will see these posts in their “Subscriptions” feed in the YouTube mobile application and can also choose to receive push notifications on these posts from their favorite creators. This might kill off the “Announcement” sub-genre of videos by letting YouTubers quickly say something without hitting the “Upload” button.
Nevertheless, the aforementioned situation could also encourage YouTubes to interact with their community audience on YouTube itself, instead of on other competing platforms such as Twitter or Facebook.
Early adopters of YouTube Community includes John & Hank Green, to AsapSCIENCE, The Game Theorists, Karmin, The Key of Awesome, The Kloons, Lilly Singh, Peter Hollens, Rosianna Halse Rojas, Sam Tsui, Threadbanger, and VSauce3. Effectively, this Community page allows the creators to run a mini-social network of sorts on their channels page. This would be an important move for Google, which has historically struggled to get social right, as seen with the failure of its Facebook vs Google+. In terms of making YouTube more of a social community than it already is, the Community tab makes more sense than a destination social network like Google+, as it undoubtedly gives the creators the ability to talk directly to their fan base, and drive sort of social engagement the company deserves.
Here is the Vlogbrothers channel, which is a natural testing ground for the new “Community” tab. To inform their fans about updates to their channels, events, and other fun links and photos they’ve been collecting. If you check out their YouTube page, you should get an idea on the new feature in action.
YouTube says its Community feature will remain in testing for a period of time, as it listens to feedback and rolls out new inclusions and functionality. No extra ETA was given on when the official YouTube Community launching.
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